Kevin McCann: Keeping the clock for Blue Demon basketball

Rachel Marciano
February 23, 2017

By day, Kevin McCann is one of five academic advisors in the College of Education. Since 2010, McCann has put his more than 30 years of middle and high school experience to work helping DePaul students manage their course loads, stay on track for graduation and obtain the various state licensures necessary to teach in Illinois. What many people don't know about McCann is that he has been the official timer for almost every DePaul men's basketball game for nearly 50 years. 

"My entire life has really been at DePaul. I'm a second generation Blue Demon and a Double Demon; my dad was the sports information director from the 1950s to the 1970s," McCann says. "When I was eight-years-old I sold game programs at Alumni Hall. One day when I was 20, the senior manager for the men's basketball team suggested I keep the clock. I've been doing it ever since."

From regular home games held in McGrath-Phillips Arena to enormous NCAA Midwest Regional finals out in Rosemont, McCann has manually kept the clock for thousands of Blue Demon games for 46 years. Perhaps more impressive is that he has only missed four games in his clock-keeping tenure.

"The last game I missed was for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. My wife was very clear about missing that game," McCann laughs. "Another I missed when my appendix was about to rupture, though I did try to postpone the surgery to time that game. The other two I missed while out of town on field trips when I taught at the LaSalle Language Academy. I just truly enjoy this job."  

Sometimes the pressures of his job go beyond just keeping an accurate clock. Early in 1984, the tipoff for a regular season game was changed at the last minute and no referees were on site to officiate. For the first half of the game, McCann took on the role of referee.

"Luckily by the second half we were able to get ahold of some college referees who lived nearby," McCann recalls. "But for that first part of the game, my co-workers at the scorer's table had a big, yet supportive, laugh. The camaraderie that emerges in this job - seeing our university community come together to cheer on our team - it doesn't get better than that."

Ranging from home-grown DePaul names like Ray Meyer and Mark Aguirre to more broadly known faces such as Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, keeping the time for basketball games has allowed McCann to meet thousands of passionate Blue Demons fans and witness some of the greatest games in history. In 2005, McCann kept the clock for a NCAA Midwest Regional final game at Allstate Arena - Illinois versus Arizona.

"The Illini were down 15 points nearly the whole game, but came back to win it in the last four-or-so minutes," he says. "The entire arena was packed; that was the biggest crowd I've ever worked as a timer. The final shot that cemented the Illini win was a four-pointer, which rarely happens. I really had to focus, which can be hard with such a high intensity and exciting game."

Though the pressure can easily be too much for many, McCann looks forward to rounding out his time-keeping career over the next four years.

"I plan to hit an even 50 years as a time keeper, then I'll slow down," he says. "I'm looking forward to seeing our Blue Demons back at home in Chicago with the Wintrust Arena. Playing this small role in building our university community and bringing people together through sports has truly been a highlight of my time at DePaul." 

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